kindness activist

kindness activist

Friday, May 20, 2016

Jaipur Kindness

We have a new KINDNESS ACTIVIST.  I cannot tell you his name, because he and I did not share a common language.  But when I saw him and his pals standing in the middle of a VERY BUSY round-about (traffic circle) in Jaipur, India handing out free cups of orange drink today, I knew I had to meet him.

Cold orange drink on a hot Indian day
There is a heat wave right now in India.  We are here on holiday and this is the HOTTEST heat I have ever felt.  It is a BIT cooler today -  it hit 111 degrees Celsius (44 degrees Farenheit).  But people are dying of heat stroke it is so hot.  And this in a country where most people do not have air conditioners, many people work OUTDOORS doing hard manual labor even through the heat wave, where there is a water shortage for drinking water, and the idea of having a SWIMMING POOL to splash around in to cool off is a luxury only tourists in fancy hotels can afford.

So the sight of these men handing out cups of bright orange drink to people as they paused in traffic - people in cars and on the millions of scooters/motorcycles that are around here, was beautiful!  We went up to our hotel room, watched the kindness in action for a few minutes from our window, then collected a Kindness Activist button and went down to thank him for his generosity.

Here he is - the mysterious orange drink Indian Kindness Activist (and David :)
As we stood on the our side of the street waiting for a moment to dart across to his side (traffic is INSANE in India!) he saw us (the only white people around at this time of year), smiled, and waved for us to c'mon over!!  We finally crossed and met him.  He didn't speak much English, and I don't speak any Hindi, so we could not have any sort of in depth conversation.  But his smile was very genuine and I told him as best I could that I thought was he was doing was VERY KIND.  I asked if he was selling the drinks and he and his friends all said, "No!!  No!!!  Free, free!" as they tried to hand us each one.  We hadn't intended to take any (we were not sure if the water they were using to make them was from sealed water bottles or tap water, and tourists are strongly advised NOT to drink tap water).  But they were so insistent that we take some, we each did (though we carried them away with us and didn't drink them).  Anyway, I could not explain the Kindness Activist project to him, but I DID give him his Kindness Activist button, which he proudly pinned to his shirt (then asked me if he had done it correctly, the same question I would have to ask if someone gave me a button written in Hindi, since I would have no idea if I had it upside down or not!).  I asked if I could take his photo and he was happy to oblige, then his friends also wanted to be in a shot.

These guys were handing out orange drinks, too! 
If you look closely, you can see the Kindness Activist wearing his new button!
So here he is!  I do not know his name but I know he is KIND.  Indians who follow the Hindu religion believe in doing kind acts for others (I think it is something like a mitzvah for a Jewish person), so maybe this was his "mitzvah" (I think the Hindu word for this concept is karma.  If anyone knows another Hindu word for it please comment here.)

Doesn't it look refreshing??
To learn more about India's water shortage, see this site:  India Water Crisis
To learn more about basic Hindu beliefs, see this site:  Hinduism

Bonus photo:  water is very scarce in India - it seems that there are many people in the lower castes (in villages) who do not have running water.  Here is a woman we saw recently in Agra carrying water from a nearby store's hose back to her house.  Seeing this was such a good reminder to be thankful for the convenience and the luxury of having clean, cool, potable water available at the turn of a spigot. 

Woman bringing two heavy buckets of water home.

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